Open Letter—Moscow Did Not "Hack the Elections"

by DR. PETER VINCENT PRY January 3, 2017

My Fellow Americans:

Do you understand that allegations by President Obama's Intelligence Community that Russia "hacked the elections" to favor Trump is disinformation, designed to undermine the legitimacy of the incoming Trump Administration-and of the Republican Congress that was elected on Trump's coattails? 

Even the Obama Administration's Intelligence Community concedes that it would be extremely difficult for Moscow to literally "hack the elections" by manipulating voting machines or to otherwise change election results.  Their contention is that the Kremlin ordered the hacking of Democratic National Committee e-mails, and facilitated their publication through Wikileaks, that proved embarrassing to the DNC and its presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. 

President Obama has relied on fellow Democrats and his minions in the press to conflate allegations Moscow "hacked the DNC" with the much more consequential charge that Moscow "hacked the elections" in order to disinform the American people and discredit the incoming Republican-controlled government.

Am deeply concerned so many, including usually sensible Republican Senators, are supporting the narrative about Moscow's "hacking the elections" without challenging its veracity.  Indeed, Obama's Intelligence Community has not even proved that Moscow hacked the Democratic National Committee.

The Unclassified Intelligence Community Reports

I have reviewed the unclassified Intelligence Community reports of October 7 and December 29, 2016-neither offers a single shred of evidence that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee or that Putin directed cyber operations to favor Trump.  Both reports merely assert this theory, but offer no evidence that proves it. 

The October 7 one-page "Joint Statement by the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence" has only one paragraph, a few sentences long, asserting their view that Moscow hacked the DNC to favor Trump: "The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions." 

That's the sum and substance of the October 7 DHS-DNI statement-a bold assertion backed by no proof.  Far more important than their dubious assertion Moscow hacked the Democratic National Committee, the Intelligence Community's Joint Statement acknowledges that it would be "extremely difficult" for anyone to hack "ballot counts or election results": 

"The USIC and the Department of Homeland Security assess that it would be extremely difficult for someone, including a nation-state actor, to alter actual ballot counts or election results by cyber attack or intrusion."

The unclassified joint report by the FBI and DHS "GRIZZLEY STEPPE-Russian Malicious Cyber Activity" (December 29, 2016; JAR-16-20296) is 13 pages long, comprises 8 pages of generic recommendations to improve information security, 1 page listing alleged e-mails of Russian hackers (unproven), a one-half page summary, and about 3 pages of actual analysis (bereft of evidence).  The report asserts Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee by Spearphishing.  Spearphishing does not support DHS-FBI assertions that Moscow did the hack, as it is an unsophisticated form of cyber-attack that could be performed by a teenager

Select U.S. Senators reportedly have received classified briefings that allegedly prove Russian President Vladimir Putin himself ordered the hacking operations.  I am extremely skeptical that the Senators or their staffs are technically competent to assess the veracity of Obama's Intelligence Community claims.

Russia, as one of the world's most sophisticated cyber warriors, should have been able to cover its tracks easily, if it hacked the DNC.  Hacking and cyber-attacks are attractive to state and non-state troublemakers precisely because it is extremely difficult to ascertain the culprit.  Cyber-security experts are still arguing over the origins of some cyber-attacks that happened years ago.  How does the Intelligence Community know that the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC is not a false flag operation by China, North Korea, Syria, or Iran?  All of these are sophisticated cyber-warriors with reasons for stoking tensions and sabotaging reconciliation between the U.S. and Russia.

A Disinformation Campaign

There is a long record of Obama's Intelligence Community lying to Congress to advance Obama's political agenda.

For example, Acting CIA Director Mike Morrell lied to Congress about the Benghazi terror attack to cover-up for Hillary Clinton.  Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, lied to Congress about NSA spying on U.S. citizens and to support Obama's false claim North Korea does not have nuclear-armed missiles.  Obama's Intelligence Community has low-balled the ISIS threat, falsified evidence on Obama's progress combatting ISIS, and rubberstamped Obama's extreme views on climate change, including the absurd notion that global warming causes terrorism-an Obama Administration talking point.

Obama's Intelligence Community reports on Moscow's alleged attempt to influence the elections looks like more disinformation.  Glaringly obvious is their lack of interest in Moscow's attempt to buy Hillary Clinton.

As documented in the book Clinton Cash, and fleetingly reported by the New York Times, the Clinton Foundation received $145 million from Russian sources, who purchased 20 percent of U.S. uranium reserves, the deal negotiated when Hillary was Secretary of State.

Bill Clinton received $500,000 from Russian sources for a single speech, and a "congratulatory" phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin.  

Any fair and balanced intelligence assessment of foreign efforts to influence the elections should include investigation of these and other payments to the Clintons.  President Obama and his Intelligence Community show no interest in these matters that reflect badly on the Clintons, the Obama Administration, and the Democratic Party.

Obama's political agenda is to undermine the legitimacy of the Trump Administration and the Republican Congress, to divide Republicans over future relations with Russia, and to unite and fire-up the Left base of a Democratic Party desperate to believe that their ideology was not rejected by voters, anxious to believe "dirty tricks" cost them the elections. 

Obama plans to stay in Washington and in effect serve a third term as Agitator-in-Chief against Trump and the Republicans, to further divide the nation and stir up as much turmoil as he can, in which purpose he will be supported 24-7 by the mass media.  The canard that Republicans, wittingly or unwittingly, had the elections handed to them by Moscow is crucial to Obama's myth that Trump and the Republican Congress are not only illegitimate, but possibly traitors.

Putin's Puppet

Proof positive President Obama is not trying to protect our constitutional republic from Russian meddling, but is trying to politically cripple President-Elect Trump-all these highly sensitive matters of intelligence and diplomacy have been thrust by Obama into the media spotlight.  Russia could and should be more effectively dealt with by quiet diplomacy and clandestine retaliatory actions.  Speak softly, but carry a big stick.

Obama insists the Intelligence Community provide a final report to him on Moscow's alleged hacking of the DNC before he leaves office.  This looks suspiciously like Obama keeping his thumb on the scales to provide a "politically correct" report, before he loses control of his Intelligence Community.

Obama's handling of intelligence and diplomacy over Moscow's alleged "hacking of the elections" is being conducted at the top of his lungs and in the full glare of media publicity-because the real target is President Trump.  Obama is inventing a false narrative for his followers among Left activists and the mass media that they lost the elections, not because their policies or ideology failed, but because they were stabbed in the back.

Trump, according to this narrative in the making, is Putin's puppet.

Domestic Politics Drives Crisis With Russia

Obama is even creating a crisis with Russia to increase the credibility of his narrative that Putin "hacked the election"-without offering proof, allegedly to protect intelligence sources and methods.  Yet even during the Cuban missile crisis and the second Iraq war, the Kennedy and George W. Bush Administrations both made public sensitive intelligence to justify U.S. actions.  When it turned out the Intelligence Community was wrong about WMDs in Iraq, the Democrats cried-"Bush lied!"-and we have never heard the end of it. 

Why are Republicans now allowing Obama to exacerbate already dangerous tensions with Russia over Moscow's alleged "hacking of the elections"-without insisting that these charges be proved publicly?

Moreover, even if the Russians did hack the Democratic National Committee, Moscow did not do this in a vacuum.  Obama's policy of using economic sanctions to punish Russia for various transgressions-instead of deterring Russian transgressions by maintaining U.S. military strength and through a muscular foreign policy-all but invited Russian cyber aggression to punish Obama, as Putin threatened he would.  Obama has not put the U.S. in a strong position to protest against meddling in U.S. elections, when Obama has meddled in elections and domestic affairs of Israel, Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Russia, often with tragic consequences. 

Unless the Obama Administration proves by compelling evidence Russia hacked the DNC, those of us who have not seen such proof should reject, or at least remain agnostic, about this claim.  

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange claims Russia had nothing to do with the information leaked by him that was so embarrassing to the DNC and Hillary Clinton.  Assange implied that the information was leaked from a source internal to the DNC, by an idealistic young DNC staffer who was murdered under mysterious circumstances.  Assange, without explanation, offered a reward of $20,000 for information about this homicide.  Occam's Razor points to this explanation of DNC humiliation by Wikileaks, until Obama can offer facts that prove otherwise.

Finally, if Putin did hack the Democratic National Committee, what harm was done except exposing to the American people the truth about DNC hypocrisy and dirty tricks?  This is the job the leftwing mainstream media consistently refuses to do in every election.  If Putin did hack the DNC, instead of sanctions, maybe he deserves the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism.   

Vigilance Against Enemies Foreign And Domestic

Russia is an enormous threat to the United States-but not because of Obama's false narrative that they "hacked the elections."  Obama throughout his tenure as president has ignored repeated warnings to deter Russia by strengthening U.S. nuclear and conventional forces, by hardening the U.S. electric grid and other critical infrastructures against electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and cyber warfare, and by "leading from the front" in foreign policy.

President Obama has paid no heed to these warnings.  Even after Russia hacked the White House and the Pentagon, after high-profile hacks by China and North Korea against the United States, Obama made no retaliation and continued to neglect U.S. defenses and deterrence capabilities.

Now we are supposed to believe Obama and his Democratic Party are genuinely fearful for our constitutional republic because Putin supposedly "hacked the elections"-and their hysteria has no ulterior domestic political motives.  

Freedom has domestic enemies too.  Our constitutional republic is threatened by an Imperial President Obama, his Democratic Party and their apostles in the media and academia who are not constitutionalists, who support executive usurpation of lawmaking power, who think the police and half the people are racists, who would replace free speech with political correctness, and would transform America into a dystopian socialist tyranny.

Trump and the Republicans were elected as the last best chance to save our constitutional republic from the above suicidal course.  If they fall prey to the false narrative that Russia "hacked the elections" and become distracted, and then victims of this narrative as Obama intends, it could set the stage for suicide of the republic.

The credibility of our elections is more endangered by illegal immigration and the absence of voter ID laws than by any hacking from Russia. 

Those hot to "punish Russia" for alleged meddling in the U.S. elections should remember  Obama meddled in Israel, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, and his economic sanctions  are meddling to undermine Putin's regime.  Remember too Russia can overrun NATO's frontline states in 80 hours and make a cyber-attack that could blackout the U.S. for 18 months, or an EMP attack that would blackout the nation permanently. 

Obama is trying to manufacture a crisis with Moscow just days before he leaves office, after he has spent years neglecting U.S. nuclear and conventional forces and doing little or nothing to prepare the nation for cyber warfare.

The people need jobs and peace, not war with Russia.

Happy New Year!

--Peter

Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both Congressional Advisory Boards, and served on the Congressional EMP Commission, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of Apocalypse Unknown: The Struggle To Protect America From An Electromagnetic Pulse Catastrophe and Electric Armageddon, both available from CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com

                                    

 


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